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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, May 23, 2020
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OPINIONS

Take a cue from Las Vegas

Ninfa Leonardia

Once again, we Filipinos should thank God for our political development, I am referring to the fact that we were under the United States for years, but were later granted complete independence. Look at what is happening in Hong Kong now. After believing that theirs was an autonomous government, they woke up last week to learn that China is proposing a national security law that is totally unacceptable to them. Ironically, China believes that, it is ensuring national security for Hong Kong. Doesn’t it sound like a father, beating up his son and telling him, “This is for your own good”?

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I know that, even now, there are still many Filipinos, seniors among them, who still believe that America should not have granted us independence and instead adopted us as another state, as it did Hawaii. But Pinoys are a proud stock, and our President then, the handsome and extremely proud mestizo, Manuel Luis Quezon, declared in one of his famous speeches, “I would rather have a Philippines run like hell by Filipinos, than one run like heaven by the Americans!” Not a century passed before Filipinos began thinking that Quezon got his wish.

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The “hell” aspect seems to be exemplified now by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but then we are not the only ones suffering from it, the whole world is affected. In fact, judging from statistics continually reported on media, we have less infections in our country, percentage-wise. For that we have to thank the Good Lord for protecting us, and let us continue to pray that we never do anything to displease Him to the point then He will abandon us.

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News reports, however, keep confirming that the biggest countries continue to be the most affected by this mysterious new virus that is confirmed, no matter how China may deny it, to come from one of its provinces, specifically from its city called Wuhan. Now it has been announced that India, Brazil, Russia and the United States are the hardest hit by this pandemic. That seems to confirm the belief that “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”. Thank God we are not that big! So let us be contented with just being small and humble, but respectable.

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But I think a lot of people, and even countries worldwide are not at all impressed by the way the President of the United States is responding to this big crisis, not only in their lives, but also in the whole world. In fact the media is making fun of him for his admission that he has been self-medicating and taking the medicine for SARS with the unpronounceable name of Hydroxychloroquine, regularly as a preventive from the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. Not a very good example to his people, is he?

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In the meantime, summer is here, and have you noticed that it is one of the hottest we have ever experienced? A man has already been reported to die of heatstroke while biking along EDSA, or Epifanio de los Santos highway in Makati. Even if we still have occasional rainfall in our city, let us not be complacent and take risks. Just like the precautions against the COVID-19, the wisest thing to do is to “Stay Home and Stay Safe”. Leave the gallivanting to better days, which we fervently hope and pray will come soon.

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But isn’t it cruel of power companies to increase their charges now that we are in a crisis and needing electric power more than ever? I know of many homeowners who are groaning about their huge electric bills recently, which some power companies have attributed to what they glibly call “universal and environmental charges”. The good news is that they have been ordered to suspend that added charge, but are they complying? And what about those who have already paid?

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But it was amusing to hear how Las Vegas, the gambling capital of the United States, if not the world, has adapted itself to the pandemic. Instead of shutting down as most businesses have done, it has provided more conveniences to its visitors, most of whom, naturally, are gamblers. The first time I was there, I had to fly back to New York alone and was quite amazed to see that even in the predeparture area, there were rows of slot machines where waiting passengers could lose – and rarely win – a lot of money. Now, I hear, there are sanitizers, as well as PPEs, such as masks and gloves available, too. No wonder the city is so successful and wealthy. They think of everything for their visitors.*

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